'SA is committed to ideals of African unity' - Ramaphosa to Nigerian president Buhari

President Cyril Ramaphosa hosted Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on a state visit. (Azarrah Karrim, News24)
President Cyril Ramaphosa hosted Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on a state visit. (Azarrah Karrim, News24)

Following a spate of public violence aimed at foreign nationals in parts of the country last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari have met to discuss relations between two the countries.

Speaking at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where he is hosting Buhari on a state visit, Ramaphosa apologised to the Nigerian president for this violence. "We would like to assure you that South Africa is committed to the ideals of African unity and solidarity to respect the human rights of others…

"While we are working to address economic and social conditions that has given rise to frustration and anger among some of our people, we firmly condemn all forms of intolerance and will not hesitate to act against criminal acts and violence," he said.

The visit marks the 20th anniversary of the Bi-National Commission through which formal relations have been conducted between the two African powerhouses since 1999.

Ramaphosa said the visit represented cordial relations between the countries and would strengthen these relations further.

"Our meeting today presents us with an opportunity not only to review the general state of our bi-lateral relations, but to make a firm determination [where] the ties between our two countries will be strengthened by your visit here."

Ramaphosa emphasised his aim to create a closer, strategic relationship with Nigeria, as well as other African countries. 

"It is this very strong bond that should compel our two nations to forge ahead in the creation of a much stronger prosperous and more peaceful Africa and restorations between South African and Nigeria," Ramaphosa said.

He added that economic relations also needed to be strengthened, highlighting conducive conditions for trade between the two countries.

He further noted the visit would be used to strengthen the battle against violence, extremism and corruption in Africa, as well as coordinate efforts to evaluate the impact of climate change on both countries.

"It is my view that our deliberations today will afford us a significant opportunity to refocus and prioritise our cooperation to strategically address key issues for the mutual benefit of our two countries," Ramaphosa said.

Buhari also condemned the violence against Nigerians in South Africa, calling for the implementation of measures to prevent violence in Africa.

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